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Friday, June 04, 2004

Mashina!!!!!!

Yesterday at 2pm Mashina held a free concert in Tel Aviv. The evening news claimed 10,000 people showed up. It definitely seemed like a lot but from the crowd, I couldn't tell how many. But if there were really 10,000 there, then at the beach party there had to be at least 20,000 people. Wow. Anyway, Mashina played from a rooftop down to a sea of people. Apparently it's the same rooftop that the Beatles once played from. The first hour while people filed in, there were famous Israeli songs playing and then at 3pm Mashina showed up! There were screens set up around so you could see them better. It was awesome. Mashina is a very popular Israeli band. People in the crowd would hear the first note of a song and start screaming in excitement. They'd start jumping up and down and of course sang along. There was a woman near me that had her one year old son in her arms as she jumped up and down singing. The poor boy just wanted to sleep!
Something else I am noticing: so many Israelis have curly hair. I always knew that Jews overall seem to have more curly hair but I never realized how many people!!! And a lot of young guys are turning their hair into dreads. It seems to be a fashion.

Towards the end of the concert there was a loud, resonating pop sound. I was looking down at my camera at that moment and my first thought was holy shit. My second thought was I'm ok. And then I heard the crowd cheering loudly so I looked up to the sky to see tons of confetti falling down on us. The band began to rock out at that point and act silly by dancing around up there. I turned to the guy I was there with and I think he too was relieved by the confetti. Or maybe he was smiling that I looked worried.

He drove me home and of course we got stuck in a bit of a traffic pickle. Someone had parked their car illegally on the side of the street. A big bus had to make a turn onto that street and found itself unable to make it. Meanwhile, behind him there were like 3 more buses and trucks so he couldn't go in reverse. We were in the opposite direction of the bus, behind one other car. And of course none of us could back up more than like 2 feet. Horns were honking and people were yelling. It was hilarious. The guy (who is quite a comedian) rolls down his window to yell his comments out. He says to the people, "we have tourists here from the US. Do we really need to show her our real behaviors?! What is she going to think of Israelis!" HAHAHA!!!! After about 5 minutes the guy whose car was parked illegally showed up and moved it. Not without getting yelled at by like 10 different people. As we drove away my friend turns to me and says, "what a third world country this one is huh?!" I started cracking up.

Wednesday, June 02, 2004

Students' Day!!

I have a cousin who is 25 and is a student at the university in Be’er Sheba.Yesterday, his university through a major beach party for the students. When I say major, I mean enormous, or rather gigantor. It was at Nitzanim beach which is south of Ashdod and just slightly north of Gaza. One side of the beach people set up tents and camping gear, the other side had a whole carnival thing going on. There was bungy-jumping, tons of food, little stands to buy jewelry, 2 trance music areas with tons of people jumping to the beat. Everywhere you wandered to had different loud music blasting and things to see. Further down a whole huge stage was set up for a big concert. So among the singers were Aviv Geffen, Shalom Hanoch, Gidi Gof, and others. Tonite is Friends of Natasha (which I would have really liked to see) but I couldn’t stay. I was so exhausted. It’s a 2 day party!!! How lucky are these people? We got there at 7pm and I didn’t get to sleep until 430AM after I almost passed out near the trance stage out of exhaustion. My cousin was still jumping up and down like a maniac. He was “feeling” the music. I really don’t understand how to dance to House Music so I just watched him and his friends scramble their heads as they jumped around.

I have no idea how many people were there but I want to say several thousand because the beach is really big and it filled up quite well. Magen David Adom was there. And of course, each time you wanted to enter the concert side, your bags were checked. There was a lot of security but honestly I didn’t notice it too much. I noticed a small plane flying down the coast but I have no idea if that was part of security.

When we arrived my cousin said he had to go for a swim. So I followed him down to the sea and without hesitating he just jumped right in. The sun was setting behind a small cloud and it lit up the sky with beautiful shades of pink. I had no interest in going in since I had already been in the sea once that day and was all clean. We walked around for a while to get a feel for what was going on there. I watched several people jump from the bungy-jumping and could not understand what would possess a person to do that to themselves.

Later, we went to the main stage to watch the concert. It was amazing. 2 hours of Israeli music with a crowd of young people who were singing along. This kind of stuff excites me because it has never happened to me before. It might be trivial for my cousin but very much a new thing for me.

But it wouldn’t be an Israeli experience without a few coincidences right? So here we go. There were 2.

#1: While we sat in the sand between singers, a saw a guy I know walk passed me. A friend of mine from many years ago from California. He moved back to Israel after high school to join the army. I hadn’t seen him since he left and there he was walking around. Now, it’s not necessarily crazy that he was there, but it is crazy that I actually ran into him considering how many people were there. I yelled to him “Haggai!!!!” He looked over and gave me a puzzled look and then smiles saying “Yael?!” And then “what the hell are you doing here?” It was so great to see him. I was surprised he recognized me because it has been 4 years. When I told him that he responded, “are you kidding? Even if we were 80 and I saw you walking in the street I’d remember you.”

#2: There was another girl hanging out in my cousin’s circle of friends. He didn’t know her but it turned out her name was Yael also. OK, so that’s not such a coincidence since every 5th girl is probably named Yael in Israel. But what IS a coincidence is we have the exact same name. First and last. Woah. My cousin started cracking up when we discovered this and another friend of his demanded to see our identification papers to make sure my cousin wasn’t just pulling his leg. Crazy.

Anyway, I know this was a long entry, and believe me I could go on for pages about the event but I really don’t want to bore you more than I probably already have. To sum it up, I had an AMAZING time. I told my cousin he won the “cool cousin award.” He really was so sweet to me the whole evening making sure I was enjoying myself and everything. I have never been to such a cool party in my life. Never have I been to anything that comes close to that in the US.

Monday, May 31, 2004

Sigh

Today was just a great day. I would say from the way I am passing my time, I am in the Garden of Eden but then I watch the news and all around me people are dying. You know, when you are in the US all you hear happening in Israel are the casualties from bombings and such. You don't hear about all the car accidents (which there are a whole hell of a lot) and other freak accidents (like a 19 year old girl who was jumping on a trampoline and is now in a coma and probably paralyzed). And this evening, the entire news hour seemed to be about Ariel Sharon. The thing is, my Hebrew is ok. It's definitely not great, but I can get by. But for some reason, I cannot understand shit from newscasts. They speak in some kind of freak Hebrew that is so difficult to follow. It's really proper or something. So I am trying to understand what I can, and what I don't get I ask. I am learning.

Anyway, on a more interesting subject, Celestial Blue asked me to update with my adventures so I thought I'd take a moment to do that. Today I took a long walk around Tel Aviv with my parents. We walked down the boardwalk and through this very beautiful park called HaYarkon. We stopped at a cute cafe and ate. Then we walked down Ben Yehuda street and stopped at every stinking store cuz my mom has a serious window shopping problem. When we finally got home, I put on my bathing suit and went down to the beach. The water called me. So I answered. I jumped in. The water has been pretty chilly but the air outside is warm so it's very nice. I tried to bodysurf but didn't do very well. I swallowed a bit of sea water but oh well :). I am now at my grandparents' and my uncle (the comedian) just told me that I look like a steak. In other words, I am tanning quite well. He's concerned for my health but what he doesn't realize (that all my friends know) is that I am the last person he needs to worry about with skin safety. I am obsessed with creams and lotions to prevent wrinkles. I just didn't realize today that our walk would turn into 3 hours of fun in the sun. Thankfully, I brought a hat.

I've been having a very relaxing time so far. After each swim in the sea (so far two times), towards the evening (around 715pm) I take a pretty long walk along the water. I watch the sunset and people. I am fascinated by all the different characters on the beach. So many colors, and several languages too. But I am still amazed when I see Asians and Blacks speaking Hebrew. It blows my mind. The guys aren't bad to look at either :). There was a guy selling bagels and pitas. He walked up and down the beach passing us several times yelling out, "Bagels! Pitas!" And then he seriously started shouting it almost angrily. Then he calmed down and said (in Hebrew of course), "Come on, buy them already they are really heavy!" I could not stop laughing.

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